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As recent announcements from all the country’s leading retailers show, investment in digital commerce in France is rising. We review these developments and look at what it may mean for one of Europe’s largest online grocery markets.

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UK online specialist retailer Ocado and French multiformat retailer Casino announced a deal today for Ocado to extend its Smart Platform technology outside the UK.

Ocado will build a new Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC) in the Paris area, which will make use of their automated warehouse technology already in use in 3 UK CFCs. This will extend Casino's online presence in the Paris, Normandie and Hauts de France regions, specifically focusing on home delivery.

Ocado creating partnerships beyond UK

The deal extends Ocado's reach into the "solutions" business, where they are already working with Morrisons in the UK and another unnamed retailer elsewhere in Europe.

Casino will find and build the initial site with Ocado taking over to fit out their proprietary robotic mechanical handling kit. Customer deliveries should go live in about 2 years' time, and Casino will then have the option to extend supply from this CFC as well as exclusivity with Ocado in France to build additional CFCs.

France currently has a (relatively) mature online grocery shopping market, which is focused on the click-and-collect model.

Looking for more information?

If you're looking for more information on Casino Group, check out our Casino supply chain snapshot for an essential summary of supply chain priorities, latest network developments, and other key statistics for the retailer.

You can also find more about online channel developments and innovations on the Retail Analysis website.

Carrefour France has announced that it has launched a new ‘ultra-fast’ delivery service covering Paris and Neuilly-sur-Seine. Carrefour has been trialling the service since October in around 10 Paris districts.

Service to offer range of about 2,000 products

Carrefour’s service enables shoppers to choose from a range of about 2,000 everyday staple products for delivery within an hour, within a 30-minute timeframe. Carrefour has said that the range is akin to the range available in a ‘town-centre supermarket’, which should mean that a in-store pick solution will be the fulfilment method of choice in the medium term. Shoppers are charged €4.90 for using the service and there is no minimum spend. Meanwhile Carrefour stressed that, potentially targeting Amazon, there is no need for shoppers to subscribe to take advantage of the service.

Deliveries are made between 09:00 and 22:00 Monday to Saturday by ‘Stuart’, a start-up in which GeoPost has invested. Carrefour has said that an app will be launched soon for the service, which will allow shoppers to track their deliveries in real time.

Service raises the competitive levels in Paris

Carrefour’s announcement comes soon after rival Casino-owned Franprix extended the range of products it would make available for delivery in an hour, following a tie-up with start-up company, Les Nouveaux Fromagers, while Amazon has made a steady stream of announcements about its own capabilities in Paris during 2016.

A growing range of ecommerce solutions

The extension of the service in Paris suggests that shoppers have taken to the service, while Carrefour believes that it is key to maintaining market share in the key city and continue to be successful in the medium term. The new service adds to Carrefour’s growing range of ecommerce solutions and provides it with a way to compete in urban areas around the country, utilising its extensive store estate, which was bolstered through the acquisition of DIA. If it continues to be successful in Paris, Carrefour could extend it to other cities in the country as a way to gain first mover advantage over Amazon and its mainstream rivals.

Looking for more on Carrefour?

If you're looking for more information of Carrefour, check out our Carrefour supply chain snapshot, for an essential summary of supply chain priorities, latest network developments, and other key statistics for the retailer.

Cdiscount, Casino's non-food e-commerce operation, is to create a centralised purchasing platform with Groupe Conforama.

Operational in time for 2017 commercial negotiations

The platform, called Mano, will centralise purchases of leading international brands in household appliances, AV and IT equipment. Cdiscount and Groupe Conforama will operate their own websites independently, to maintain their own commercial policy.

Reinforces importance of Cdiscount

Casino already has strong foundations for sourcing food and grocery products. Its sourcing activity, both domestically and internationally, is managed by central purchasing organisation EMC while the international arm, Casino Global Sourcing, sources entry-price and private label products and organises imports. Casino is also a member of buying group EMD and has a buying partnership with Intermarché in France. This latest move will strengthen its non-food capability and highlights the increasing importance of the Cdiscount operation to the business.

Supply chain innovation

This summer, Casino made waves with a new service: delivering groceries to boats on the south-eastern coast of France. Find out more about this innovation here.

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